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Competition for Trophies Triggers Male Generosity

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  • Xiaofei (Sophia) Pan

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Daniel Houser

    ()
    (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

Cooperation is indispensable in human societies, and much progress has been made towards understanding human pro-social decisions. Formal incentives, such as punishment, are suggested as potential effective approaches despite the fact that punishment can crowd out intrinsic motives for cooperation and detrimentally impact efficiency. At the same time, evolutionary biologists have long recognized that cooperation, especially food sharing, is typically efficiently organized in groups living on wild foods, even absent formal economic incentives. Despite its evident importance, the source of this voluntary compliance remains largely uninformed. Drawing on costly signaling theory, and in light of the widely established competitive nature of males, we hypothesize that unique and displayable rewards (trophies) out of competition may trigger male generosity in competitive social environments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science in its series Working Papers with number 1022.

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Length: 21
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1022

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Keywords: cooperation; competition; gender; trophy; evolution;

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References

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  1. Ernst Fehr & John A. List, 2004. "The Hidden Costs and Returns of Incentives-Trust and Trustworthiness Among CEOs," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 743-771, 09.
  2. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao & Kevin McCabe & Vernon Smith, 2005. "When punishment fails: Research on sanctions, intentions and non- cooperation," Experimental 0503001, EconWPA.
  3. Klaus Abbink & Jordi Brandts & Benedikt Herrmann & Henrik Orzen, 2009. "Inter-Group Conflict and Intra-Group Punishment in an Experimental Contest Game," Discussion Papers 2009-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Duffy, John & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2010. "Does competition affect giving?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 82-103, May.
  5. Dan Ariely & Anat Bracha & Stephan Meier, 2009. "Doing Good or Doing Well? Image Motivation and Monetary Incentives in Behaving Prosocially," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 544-55, March.
  6. Michael Kosfeld & Armin Falk, 2006. "The Hidden Costs of Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1611-1630, December.
  7. Iris Bohnet & Bruno S. Frey & Steffen Huck, . "More Order with Less Law: On Contract Enforcement, Trust, and Crowding," IEW - Working Papers 052, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  8. Sheryl Ball & Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & William Zame, 2001. "Status In Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(1), pages 161-188, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel Jones & Sera Linardi, 2012. "Wallflowers Doing Good: Field and Lab Evidence of Heterogeneity in Reputation Concerns," Working Papers 485, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics.
  2. Xiaofei Pan & Daniel Houser, 2011. "Social Approval, Competition, and Cooperation," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000299, David K. Levine.
  3. Leonie Gerhards & Neele Siemer, 2014. "Private versus Public Feedback - The Incentive Effects of Symbolic Awards," Economics Working Papers 2014-01, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.

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